Back to top

North Cascades Highlights

A long time favorite trip that’s full of mountain adventure sports in the “American Alps” with inspiring panoramic views!


Jul 05 - Jul 16, 2019


12-14 (enter 7th-9th)


$2760 (airfare not incl.)




  • Camp in Washington state
  • Sea Kayaking San Juans
  • Backpack N. Cascades Natl' Park
  • Rock Climbing Goat Wall
  • Horseback Riding Winthrop, WA
  • Swim in lakes, rivers, streams
  • Rafting the Sauk River
  • Explore Bellingham, WA
This trip arrives and departs from Seattle, WA

The camp was great for Samantha's self-esteem. Great friendships were found, last weekend, Samantha and Megan (Alpengirl camp friend) were able to fly to Chicago to be with Zoe (Alpengirl camp friend) for her Bat Mitzvah! I keep hearing about the foods they ate at Alpengirl. Last...

~ Shannon (Boise, Idaho)

Trip Description

A Summer Adventure Camp in Northwest Washington for Teen Girls 

The Washington Cascades are one of the most varied and majestic mountain ranges in the United States. Home to Mount Baker, Mount Adams, and plenty of other “must-climbs” in the outdoor world, Alpengirls will get the chance to experience exactly what this world-class outdoor playground has to offer.

With an expedition of both land and sea available during this Washington state summer camp, girls will really become familiar with the flow of being away from traditional campgrounds, really immersing each girl in nature, all while having the time of their lives.

Want more fun this summer? It's easy to add on the Columbia, Cascades and Coast Adventure -or- Olympic Sea to Summit Adventure and enjoy 25 days of adventure with Alpengirl!

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arriving at SeaTac International Airport in Seattle, WA, your Alpenguides will greet you and introduce you to the rest of your group. Icebreakers, name games, and get-to-know-you fun abounds before you and your new expedition mates hop in the van and drive to our first campsite. 

Once we arrive, we'll learn how to set up our tents and enjoy the first of many delicious and fresh camp meals before settling into our tents for the night. 

Day 2: Waking up refreshed and renewed, you will grab your sleeping pad, head outside to a nearby clearing, and set up for your first daily morning yoga session. After a strong morning stretch, we’ll fill our bellies with a nutritious Alpengirl breakfast such as blueberry pancakes served with turkey bacon.

We’ll pull on our swimsuits and get ready for a rip-roarin’ whitewater rafting adventure! We’ll meet our rafting guides and set out for an afternoon of whitewater rafting along the Sauk River - a designated Wild & Scenic River. This raft trip includes some gnarly rapids like Hole-in-One and Alligator Drop!  

Days 3-8: It’s finally time to get out on the trail! After your Alpenguides give you a thorough tutorial about how to properly pack only the essentials, adjust and carry your backpack, we’ll jump in the van and drive to the trailhead to start our 20-mile roundtrip trekking expedition.

Our six-day, five-night backpacking trip in North Cascades National Park skirts along a relatively level shoreline trail and follows the curves of turquoise colored Ross Lake. We will start out on Ruby’s Arm of Ross Lake, stopping to swim along the way. We will stay fresh and clean on expedition by having an Alpenolympic Bucket Hair Washing competition on the third night of backpacking.

On our second to last day of backpacking, we have the opportunity to leave most of our stuff behind and hike to the top of Desolation Peak for stunning 360˚ views of peaks, rivers, and lakes. This adds 14 miles to our trip total! Celebrating our hard-work, on our final day of backpacking, we will jump into a boat taxi that will shuttle us back down the length of Ross Lake which provides us with a much shorter return hike to our van. Tonight at our campsite in Winthrop, WA we'll enjoy showers and laundry!

Day 9: Rise and shine, Alpengirls! Waking up to a mellow yoga session will prepare us for a full day of rock climbing. We'll meet our rock climbing guides in Mazama, WA and they will harness us up and teach us the ways of the rock. We will learn proper climbing and belaying technique, and maybe have the chance to rappel down a tall rock wall. Even the girl who has never been on a wall before will get to call herself a climber at the day’s end.

Tonight we may enjoy a meal cooked over the campfire, including our favorite Alpentreat - s’mores! Pull out your costumes and warm up your singing voice, because the Alpenolympic Talent Show event may take place this evening around the campfire.

Day 10: Today we’ll  enjoy a big hearty breakfast, pull on our boots, pack our packs and prepare for a western trail horseback ride in the mountains, a highlight for many Alpengirls.

Let’s swim! Making our way back towards the WA coast, we'll stop en route for a swim at a local swimming hole or lake and girls who are up for some competition and challenge will get the chance to test their creativity skills with some of our favorite Alpenolympic games, like Whale Breaching and Water Ballet.

Day 11: We'll have a quick sea kayak paddling lesson, then set off for a nature conservancy protected island in the San Juan Islands. We’ll eat a delicious lunch on the island, then explore and learn about wild harvesting, tide pools, and the ocean environment. We might catch a glimpse of eagles, otters, or seals with pups!  

Then, a shower and fresh laundry will perk us up as we get ready for a bit of souvenir shopping in Bellingham, WA. Tonight, we’ll exchange email addresses and phone numbers and have our traditional end of session awards ceremony.

Day 12: It’s time to go home! Exchanging hugs with your friends, you’ll depart from SeaTac International Airport in Seattle, WA, knowing that you’ve had a ton of fun and accomplished great things as an Alpengirl and will be a part of our fantastic community for life. See you next summer!

PLEASE NOTE: This is a sample itinerary. Alpengirl reserves the right to cancel or alter any aspect of our program, including program itinerary, trip dates, activities or location, as a result of unforeseen circumstances, including weather, environment, or health hazards. To the best of our ability, substitutions of activities will be comparable to, or better than the original activity. Parents will be notified by email if there are any significant itinerary changes.

Trip Campsites & Amenities

Six nights are spent in tents in public “front country” campgrounds where we have pre-assigned campsites with neighbors and campground hosts nearby, running potable water, and private outhouses or flushing toilets.

Five nights are spent in tents in wilderness “back country” areas where we will purify our water before drinking and learn and practice basic Leave No Trace camping skills such as how to select a campsite, how to go to the bathroom, and keep clean outdoors. ALL backcountry campsites in this itinerary have an outhouse available to us.

Why Choose This Trip

The North Cascades Adventure is for girls who are excited to get out of their comfort zone a bit and have some real adventures in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the United States. 

With a longer backpacking trip than most Alpengirl Camps and little daily elevation gain, this camp is perfect for girls who love nature and hiking and want a peak summit attempt of one of the highest altitudes we reach in our camps. Add on the gorgeous views, refreshing swims in mountain lakes, and the mellow pace, you can’t go wrong with this session. Limited to 10 girls in the group.